Monday, October 30, 2017

How Voice of America Censored Solzhenitsyn

Ted Lipien,

Image from article, with caption: An exhibit item in the Gulag Museum in Magadan, Russia. 1994 Photo. (An online virtual Gulag Museum with an introduction by Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize author of “Gulag: A History“ can be viewed on the website of The Museum on Communism–a project of the non-profit, non-partisan Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, established by an Act of Congress on December 17, 1993 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.)

There exists a definite link between propaganda and censorship. Quite often, one of propaganda’s goals is to tarnish the reputation of political enemies at home and abroad with carefully selected emotionally-charged labels, which can result in them being censored by journalists, banned altogether from media appearances and shunned by timid politicians. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn was one of the best known among the many victims of this type of propaganda when he became a prime target of a relentless smear campaign run by the KGB Soviet intelligence and security service in the 1970s and ’80s, but he was not the only one. ... In a twist of historical irony, anti-communist Republicans, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, gave during their presidencies a major boost to Soviet propaganda against Solzhenitsyn by making him a persona non grata at the White House and at the Voice of America, even as the Russian exile was warmly received on Capitol Hill by both Democrats and Republicans and by million of American readers of his chronicle of Soviet crimes, The Gulag Archipelago. ...
VOA banned Solzhenitsyn in 1974, while Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty did not. Some of these actions had the direct blessing of the State Department, while others originated within the United States Information Agency (USIA) and among VOA managers and editors. ...
Censoring Alexander Solzhenitsyn by the Voice of America in the 1970s, which Cold War Radio Museum will cover in a series of articles to be posted in the period leading up to the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, which started on November 7, 1917, and will continue for a few days after the anniversary date, is a case study of the impact of Soviet propaganda in the United States. ...
The articles will also examine the elimination of censorship on Soviet topics in VOA programs during the Reagan administration and Solzhenitsyn’s partial reconciliation with the Voice of America in the 1980s.

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